By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, George Ramsay, Jack Guy and Kathryn Snowdon CNN
US Vice President Kamala Harris stopped short of calling Russia’s actions in Ukraine “war crimes” as civilians continue to be killed in the conflict
Speaking alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw Thursday, Harris said: “We are also very clear that any intentional attack on innocent civilians is a violation.”
She added: “The UN has set up a process by which there will be a review and investigations and we will of course participate as appropriate and necessary.”
Images from Ukraine clearly showed atrocities taking place, Harris said, even before an investigation determines what to call them.
“I have no question the eyes of the world are on this war and what Russia has done in terms of this aggression and these atrocities,” she said.
Duda went further, saying war crimes are “obvious” in Ukraine and that refugees coming to his country have evidence of it on their phones.
Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has expressed dismay at the Russian bombing of a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, Vatican News reported Thursday.
Parolin said that the bombing of medical centers for women and children is unacceptable, Vatican News reported.
He reiterated the Vatican’s desire to mediate peace talks between Ukraine and Russia, if requested.
Parolin admitted that the space for negotiations is slight, but expressed hope some agreement could be reached.
Poland calls for more sanctions on Russia after “barbaric” attack on maternity and children’s hospital
From CNN’s Lindsay Isaac
Polish President Andrzej Duda has called a Russian strike on a Ukrainian maternity and children’s hospital an “act of barbarity and genocide” and called for further sanctions against Moscow.
Speaking in Warsaw following a bilateral meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris, Duda thanked the US for imposing sanctions on Russia, calling it a “vanguard” while also urging for more help for Ukraine from the international community.
“We need to take a tough stance as representatives of the free world,” he said, adding that “we have to rescue Ukraine,” and calling for an “all hands onboard” approach.
“Ukraine needs to be helped, and we have to stay united in that respect,” he said.
Regarding the US rejection of a Polish plan to send Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine by way of a US-NATO air base in Germany, he said Poland had been ready to supply the fighter jets to Ukraine but wanted it to be a common decision made by NATO. “We want Poland to remain a credible member of NATO,” he said.
More than 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees have entered Poland, Duda said, adding that he was “proud” of how ordinary Polish families have received them in their “private homes.” None of the refugees are being housed in camps, he said.
US vice president says US and Poland are united, despite episode over fighter jets
From CNN’s Kevin Liptak
US Vice President Kamala Harris sought to reinforce cooperative ties between the United States and Poland after an apparent disconnect between the two countries over providing Ukraine with fighter jets.
“I want to be very clear. The United States and Poland are united in what we have done and are prepared to help Ukraine and the people of Ukraine — full stop,” Harris said alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda during a joint press conference.
Still, Harris skirted directly addressing the episode that unfolded earlier this week, when Poland said it would hand over its jets to the US instead of giving them directly to Ukraine.
Harris underscored the military support the United States is already providing Ukraine short of air power, including antitank missiles.
“We’re making deliveries every day in terms of what we can do,” Harris said.
Asked what more Ukraine could expect, Harris said, “that is an ongoing process and that is not going to stop to the extent there is a need.”
US vice president says Warsaw visit is a sign of US commitment to NATO
From CNN’s Kevin Liptak
US Vice President Kamala Harris said she traveled to Poland, one of NATO’s easternmost allies, to show the United States’ commitment to the region’s security.
“What is at stake, this very moment, are some of the guiding principles around the NATO alliance. And in particular, the issue of the importance of defending sovereignty and territorial integrity and in this case of Ukraine,” Harris said at a news conference.
“The United States is prepared to defend every inch of NATO territory. The United States takes seriously that an attack against one is an attack against all,” Harris said.
Speaking alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda, Harris said her presence in Warsaw was a signal of American commitment to the military alliance.
“I am here in Poland as an expression of the enduring and important relationship, that, again, has been longstanding, but in particular on the issue of Ukraine is unified and is clear: we will do everything together in partnership, in solidarity to support what is necessary at this very moment in terms of the humanitarian and security needs of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” she said.
She said the US was fulfilling requests to provide Poland with Patriot missiles.
“What compels us also is the moral outrage that all civilized nations feel when we look at what is happening: innocent men, women, children, grandmothers, grandfathers who are fleeing everything,” Harris said.
Harris added that “atrocities of unimaginable proportions” were underway in Ukraine.
She also said that the US is committed to helping Poland deal with a massive flow of people coming from Ukraine, adding that the US is also willing to take in more migrants.
The US is absolutely prepared to do what we can and what we must,” the Vice President said.
Harris said “we recognize the burden that it places on the government of Poland on the president and the infrastructure of this country.”
Harris also said she explained the American position to the Polish president during their talks.
The Kyiv regional administration says there are several dangerous routes beyond the capital because of heavy fighting, including the main highway westward to Zhytomyr and the town of Makariv, which is on that route.
It also said that areas to the north remained among the most dangerous, including the suburbs of Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel, as well as the district of Vyshorod further north from the capital.
The administration highlighted fresh fighting in settlements around Brovary, which is across the Dnieper River, east from the capital.
“Evacuation through humanitarian corridors from Bucha, Irpin, Hostomel and Borodianka is planned today,” the administration said, after limited success in evacuating civilians from those areas Wednesday.
Separately, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Ukrainian television that “the key goal of the Russians is to capture Kyiv.”
“Their task from the first day of war is to surround Kyiv, to encircle it and then continue to attack, overthrow the government,” he said.
“Their plans are not being realized, thanks to our guys who are now in Bucha, Vorzel, Irpin, Hostomel, where fierce fighting is taking place. Our guys are thwarting all plans to surround Kyiv,” Klitschko said.
He also discussed refugees leaving the capital.
“Every second Kyiv resident has left the city, there are just a bit less than two million residents now in Kyiv,” he said, adding, “now Kyiv has become a fortress, every street and every building.”